Cooperatives and MSMEs Development Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui has refuted media reports linking him to First Choice Recruitment and Consultancy Agency. This firm allegedly defrauded youths of millions of shillings in a scholarship and fake job scam in Uasin Gishu County.

In a strongly worded statement on Wednesday, CS Chelugui claimed that efforts are being made to unfairly implicate him in the scam because he attended the firm’s official launch on May 15, 2021.

The Minister explained that his presence at the event was purely in his official capacity as the then Labour Cabinet Secretary. He said that his attendance should not be misinterpreted as an endorsement of the fraudulent activities associated with First Choice Recruitment and Consultancy Agency.

“Indeed, I was invited by the organizers on 15th May 2021 to preside over the flagging off of more than 200 youth who had secured job opportunities in Qatar during the 2022 World Cup,” he said.

“As the Cabinet Secretary for Labour and Social Protection at the time, I was obliged to honour the invite and grace the event because I felt it was a great opportunity for our youth and our country. I also used the occasion to promote government policy on labour migration.”

Chelugui clarified that his involvement at the event was limited to his role as the chief guest, during which he exclusively addressed the government’s stance on labor migration.

“I also used the opportunity to explain the challenges we were facing at the time and the solutions that we had put in place to protect Kenyans looking for jobs abroad and ensure that recruitment agencies abide by the law,” he wrote.

While dismissing the allegations, CS Chelugui insisted that he conducted himself with the utmost professionalism, honor, and dignity in the execution of his duties.

“I am, therefore, surprised by the malicious, unfair, offensive and slanted stories published in a section of the newspapers today and The Star in particular which is obsessed with yellow Journalism; Sensationalism over facts.”

“In conclusion, I demand unequivocal apology with equivalent prominence from The Star Newspaper for tarnishing my reputation.”